In Writing Motherhood

Before I was a mother, I have always been a writer. I'm deep into grandmotherhood now, and I'm leaving a trail of my motherhood footprints behind with a few of my favorite previously published essays. 
 
With my husband I raised three children, who are now grown. Two of our kids came to us through adoption and foster care in the early 1980s from South Korea, a one-year old, and an older child who arrived at age 10. We waded into uncharted territory, as not only were two of our children Korean (I'm mixedblood American Indian and my husband is white) but by adding an oldest child, we also changed the birth order within our family. Next, our son, then age 7, was diagnosed with a brain tumor—an event that changed all of our lives and taught me to let go of expectations and to forge a new identity. 
 
When I began assembling a collection of my previously published essays to include here, I found that each one begged for revision. A number of my feature articles were too magazine-y in tone and needed to be reshaped into memoir. Other pieces, when further examined with my poet’s eye, had become too pretentious and gave off the full-bodied notion that as a mother I had things all figured out, which of course I don’t. 
 
I also contemplated my gloomy stories. Although my memoir, Pushing up the Sky, is often remembered for difficulties I've faced, I want it to go down in history that there has also been great joy within my journey through motherhood. 
 
Today as a mother and grandmother my life in no way resembles what I had hoped for, or expected it to be, and yet I am deeply thankful for where this journey has led me. I also enjoy seeing how my perspective has evolved and changed over the past four decades. 
 
Thank you to the editors where these essays were first published. 
 
Terra Trevor is an essayist, memoirist and nonfiction writer, a contributor to fifteen books, the author of two memoirs, and essays and articles in numerous publications. Her new memoir, We Who Walk the Seven Ways, will be released from the University of Nebraska Press in May 2023. Her memoir, Pushing up the Sky: A Mother's Story, has been widely anthologized. Her work and portrait are featured in Tending the Fire: Native Voices and Portraits (University of New Mexico Press). Her work is also included in Children of the Dragonfly: Native American Voices on Child Custody and Education (The University of Arizona Press), The People Who Stayed: Southeastern Indian Writing After Removal (University of Oklahoma Press), Unpapered: Writers Consider Native American Identity and Cultural Belonging (University of Nebraska Press), Voices Confronting Pediatric Brain Tumors (Johns Hopkins University Press), In the Veins: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects, The Foster Parenting Tool Box (EMK Press), Take A Stand Art Against Hate, and in numerous other books, anthologies, magazines and literary journals. www.terratrevorauthor.com


Terra Trevor's Pushing up the Skyis a revelation of the struggles and triumphs packed into the hyphens between Korean and Native American and American. From her, we learn that adoption can best be mutual, that the adoptive parent needs acculturation in the child’s ways. With unflinching honesty and unfailing love, Trevor details the risks and heartaches of taking in, the bittersweetness of letting go, and the everlasting bonds that grow between them all. With ‘Pushing up the Sky’, the ‘literature of adoption’ comes of age as literature, worthy of an honored place in the human story. 
 
—Robert Bensen, editor of Children of the Dragonfly: Native American Voices on Child Custody and EducationThe University of Arizona Press

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Terra Trevor is an essayist, memoirist and nonfiction writer, a contributor to fifteen books, the author of two memoirs, and essays and articles in numerous publications. Her new memoir, We Who Walk the Seven Ways, will be released from the University of Nebraska Press in May 2023. Her memoir, Pushing up the Sky: A Mother's Story, has been widely anthologized. Her work and portrait are featured in Tending the Fire: Native Voices and Portraits (University of New Mexico Press). Her work is also included in Children of the Dragonfly: Native American Voices on Child Custody and Education (The University of Arizona Press), The People Who Stayed: Southeastern Indian Writing After Removal (University of Oklahoma Press), Unpapered: Writers Consider Native American Identity and Cultural Belonging (University of Nebraska Press), Voices Confronting Pediatric Brain Tumors (Johns Hopkins University Press), In the Veins: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects, The Foster Parenting Tool Box (EMK Press), Take A Stand Art Against Hate, and in numerous other books, anthologies, magazines and literary journals.